TITLE: "The beauty of life, forgiveness, and the power of positive change"
Once hunted to the brink of extinction for their oil and meat, the population of humpback whales had fallen to less than 10% before the global moratorium in 1966. Thanks to the efforts of marine conservationists and organisations like the IWC, the population of humpback whales have steadily increased ever since the ban. However, as we celebrate their recovery, other species of whales continue to get hunted worldwide, most notably by countries such as Norway, Iceland, and my very own country, Japan. Whilst it is important to hear both sides of the story, we mustn't forget that the animals need to be heard and respected too, especially in the ocean where it is their home, not ours.
In this series, I explore the beauty of life, forgiveness, and the power of positive change. Using images of humpback whales as a symbol of hope, as a testament to human compassion and love, and the courage to acknowledge and learn from our mistakes. While we cannot undo what is done, we can see it, understand it, learn from it and change, so that every new moment is spent not in regret, guilt, fear or anger but in wisdom, understanding and love.
AUTHOR: Kohei Ueno (Japan)
I was born in Tokyo, raised in Hokkaido, grew up in Singapore and Australia. I like to freedive, I like to take photos, and I love being underwater. I picked up my first camera after I quit my job at Google and sold my possessions to travel the world with a 40L backpack. When I returned home after a year, one of the photos I took won 1st place at an international photography competition, which enabled me to upgrade my kit, obtain my first ever underwater housing, as well as a trip to Tonga to swim with whales. These chains of fortunate events had reminded me of how much I love the ocean, how much I love being active, and how much I love being creative, the building blocks that naturally led me to exit the corporate world for good and pursue the passion I now have for freediving and photography.
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